Medicare’s Supplement plans, known as Medigap plans, are a great way to cover those medical expenses that the basic Medicare plan won’t take care of for you. We will show you exactly what the Medigap Plans for 2019 have to offer and why you may want to sign up for one of these plans if you are a senior.
They aren’t for everyone, but anyone who is 65 or older should be looking into these plans and how they can save them money on their healthcare. The cost of healthcare is just going to go up, so it is important that you protect yourself by having the right kind of coverage at a price that works for your budget.
How You Can Get a Medigap Plan
We will tell you what these plans offer in a moment, but first we want to walk you through the process of signing up for one of them. These are medical insurance plans that are meant to go alongside basic Medicare. So, you need to have that basic plan first before you can sign up for one of these. You can sign up for both at the same time, but you definitely have to have that basic plan for this supplemental one to work.
You also need to be 65 or older, in most cases, to qualify for these plans. You can sign up any time after you turn 65, but there are specific times of the year where it is better to apply. Open Enrollment is definitely the best, as you get guaranteed coverage and low rates, no matter what your preexisting conditions may be. Open Enrollment takes place for about month and a half. For 2019’s plans, you have to sign up during Open Enrollment that actually takes place in 2018. That starts on the first of November and ends in the middle of December. The dates are different, sometimes, from one year to the next, so if you don’t sign up this year, then be sure to look at the dates for the next Open Enrollment you might want to take advantage of.
You have to sign up for these through private insurance companies and not Medicare. Private insurers such as AARP, Mutual of Omaha and others are permitted by Medicare to sell these plans. You can only sign up for one Medigap plan at a time, and you have to keep that plan for a full term (which is usually year) before you can change it out for something else.
You can sign up through the insurance company’s website, if you like. Rate aggregate sites may offer to help you sign up as well, but this will simply link you through to the insurance company selling the plans, and they may charge a small fee for providing that connection for you.
How Medigap Plans Cover Your Healthcare Expenses
The best reason to sign up for a Medigap plan is not because they are popular among seniors or because you can afford to do so but because you can benefit from the coverage they are offering. In order to know if you would benefit, you need to know what these plans cover. Let’s go over the kind of coverage that you could be getting if you were to be approved for a Medigap plan in 2019.
If you have Medicare’s basic plan, then you already have some great medical coverage. Unfortunately, you also have to pay for some of your medical expenses as well, no matter how great your health is. That basic Medicare plan come with some expenses for you to pay out of pocket to enjoy the privilege of insurance coverage that it offers you. That includes annual deductibles to pay and copayments for most visits to the doctor.
These expenses can be covered under a Medigap plan. Many of these plans (of which there are ten different ones) will cover the Medicare Part A copayment and the Part B copayment. They can also cover the Part A deductible. That Part B deductible, however, which is $183 each year, is only covered by a couple of the Medigap plans.
You could also be covered for Medicare Part B excess charges, an uncommon expense, but sometimes an expensive one. If you go to a hospital that does not accept Medicare completely, and that is your regular medical facility you visit for treatment, then this coverage can come in handy. However, most people don’t experience this expense often, if ever, which is why it is only included in a couple of the Medigap Plans for 2019.
An item of coverage that could come in handy for those who live near another country’s border or who travel often is the foreign emergency medical transport cover. This takes care of you when you need to be moved to a medical facility that is outside the US borders. It does not cover the cost of care, but rather the cost of transport, up to 80%. You will need to pay a deductible for this coverage, though, and you’ll only be covered up to a limit of $50,000 over your lifetime.
There is more coverage included in many Medigap plans as well. You could be covered for blood usage. You already get some cover for that from the basic Medicare plan, but it only covers you for a limited amount, and once that coverage runs out, the Medigap plans steps in and offers its own coverage.
Supplemental coverage can also include cover for your skilled nursing care coinsurance payments and your hospice care coinsurance payments. These are very common for many seniors, and it can help to greatly reduce their expenses for those kinds of care by having supplemental coverage take care of it.
The Cost of Coverage
Of course, Medigap coverage is not free. You will need to pay a monthly premium on any of the plans you sign up for. The cost of the premium will depend partly on which of the plans you choose. The more coverage a plan offers, the more you pay. But it also depends on which insurance company you go with for your coverage. You can choose a company that offers very low rates and save some money, if you do some searching and compare prices.
You won’t have to be concerned about getting less coverage than you should because you paid a small price for your Medigap plan. That’s a fear some seniors have when they go to compare plans and the prices charged for them, but they really should not be scared of missing out on any coverage. That’s because the coverage is guaranteed. So long as you choose a Medigap plan for your supplemental coverage you get the same cover with each individual plan at every insurance company.
So, the high coverage Plan F is still the same plan with the same cover no matter which provider you buy it from. You can pay a very low premium on that plan and still be every bit as covered as if you had chosen a very expensive provider for the same plan. That means that you should be looking for the lowest cost version of the plan you want, as that will save you the most money, and you won’t be missing out on any coverage at all by making that choice.
Keep in mind that the prices can change from time to time. If you checked the prices a few months ago on some of the Medigap plans, and then you check the prices again this year, you will likely find that they have gone up here and there. That’s something to watch for, and you want to be sure that your pricing information is accurate. You don’t want to base your decision for the best plan for you and the best deal for you on information that is out of date.
Is Medigap Right for You?
Medigap is a great option for many seniors. They can save money on their medical care and still get the care that they need. If you have looked at the coverage we just talked about and it seems like it might work well for you, then be sure to consider the different Medigap plans and compare what they have to offer and how it might apply to you. Once you do that and put in the effort to pick the most suitable coverage plan for your needs, then you can save money as well.
Picking the right coverage plan for your medical care, whether it is Medigap plans for 2019 or something else, is all about cutting your costs where you can. Only the right plan will give you the biggest savings possible, and you’ll only choose that right plan by taking a considered look at what’s available. If you need some help in figuring out what kind of coverage you should go for or what kind of medical care you might be needing in the coming year, then you should consult with your insurance agent and your doctor, respectively.